The experiences I’ve had walking through my neighborhood Crown heights somewhat resembles the experiences expressed in Mr. Codan’s article “Due North.” Crown heights population consists primarily of Afro-Americans / Afro-Caribbean, Hispanic, and Jewish occupants. Starting from about Washington avenue to Ralph avenue there is a tremendous change in the demographics of the neighborhood. In the article “Due North” the writer describes the drastic demographic & atmospheric changes from the Upper East side and the South Bronx which was described by the writer to be separated by a “brisk 90minute walk.” The similarities I found in his experience in the South Bronx that I have experienced in my community were the differences in demographic changes between New York avenue and Utica avenue. New York avenue (despite being a bus route for the B41 bus) is more of a residential setting with four family houses and brownstones, and has little to no stores located on any of the blocks within the Crown Heights area. However, walking through Utica avenue, the experiences such as seeing people interacting on the streets, music from passing vehicles and smelling the variety of foods from local restaurants is what I found to be similar to the writer’s experience described in the article. The differences I found in the writer’s experience versus my own is the interaction he had with random people in the South Bronx community. Even on a busy street such as Utica avenue I find it is rare to be greeted by a random stranger. In fact, I find most people to stare rather than to verbally acknowledge their neighbor. Lastly, when the writer states “But serendipity also exposes our commonalities,” I think the writer is saying that the notion of serendipity can validate that our life experiences may differ but we all share common outlooks on life.
Do people have a right to the city? Do longtime residents and businesses have a right to remain where they are? If so, how should local governments, urban planners, and other decision-makers ensure these rights are maintained?
Every city has unique attributes that distinguishes them apart. I believe all persons have a right to the city in which they live. Longtime business owners and residents have helped to provide these unique cultural attributions that most major cities are known for. Both longtime business owners and residents should not only have the right to remain where they are, but also be included in the decision-making process when it comes to redevelopment of these communities. In both films “My Brooklyn” and “Citizen Jane: Battle for the city,” we’ve seen persons who were either threatened to be force out or forced out of their communities due to remodeling and or financial insufficiency caused by redevelopment. Local government agencies and urban developers should reinsure that citizens of the community are included in all urban development projects, properly address the concerns and needs of the community, and implement a law that prevents residents from being displaced from their community due to redevelopment. It is essential to keep longtime residents and business owners in the communities in which they contributed unique qualities to. They are an essential part in developing and maintaining the cultural foundations of that city.